It is the reason the Trojans dropped a 33-28 decision to Central York in a District 3 Class AAAA first-round football playoff game at the Panthers' home field on Friday night.
Chambersburg ends its season with a 6-5 record, still the first winning record for the program since 1998. Central York (8-3) will play No. 1 seed Wilson (10-1) in next Friday's quarterfinals.
The Trojans held the upper hand, 21-14, after scoring two touchdowns in the final 3:20 of the first half. But the third quarter was all Panthers, and that was the difference in the game.
In that period, Central York outscored Chambersburg 9-0. The Panthers ran 23 plays to the Trojans' six, and gained 179 yards to Chambersburg's minus-3. The Trojans lost a fumble and threw an interception, and also had a punt snap go out of the end zone for a safety that gave the Panthers the lead for good. Central York's four possessions averaged starting on the Chambersburg 40, while the Trojans' two possessions began on their own 12 and 20.
"We got in a hole and were a little scared to open up too much (on offense); then we turned it over anyway," Saunders said.
"That quarter was actually frustrating for us because we should have come away with more points," Central York coach Brad Livingston said. "But we did score first and that's what we needed to do. We had to get our composure and poise back at halftime, and I think we got back to playing Central football in the third quarter."
The Panthers received the kick to start the second half and promptly scored on an 11-yard pass from Corey Hartz to Darian Hampton. The play was set up when Hampton ran 32 yards on a fake punt that caught the Trojans napping. That tied the game 21-21.
On the kickoff, Chambersburg's Jordan Brown never got a handle on the ball and eventually his fumble was recovered at the Trojan 27 by Central's Trevor Hogue.
But three plays later, QB Ryan Martin was picked off by Andrews Dadedoe and the Panthers were in business again at Chambersburg's 25. This time, the Trojans forced a field goal try, but a bad snap turned the ball over and it was still 21-21.
When Central York held the Trojans again, they had to punt from their own 6 after a penalty, and the snap went over punter Kane Snider's hands for a safety and a 23-21 Panther lead.
Chambersburg safety Taylor Tolbert said, "That third quarter just kept dragging on and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot."
Trojan wide receiver Kellen Williams said, "We had some things we wanted to run (on offense), but we were too deep in our end."
Early in the fourth period, the Panthers got a bizarre 21-yard field goal by Kyle Smith that hit the right post, left post and crossbar before falling over and giving his team a 26-21 lead. When Martin was intercepted again, by Donny Crabill, leading to a 21-yard TD pass from Hartz to Nate Trona for a 33-21 advantage with 6:15 left, the game appeared to be over.
But the Trojans caught fire.
"We kept fighting and never laid down," Saunders said. "I'm proud of them for that."
To that point in the second half, Martin had thrown the ball three times - two interceptions and an incompletion. Then he got big-time hot.
Running a two-minute offense, Martin targeted 10 passes in a scoring drive and completed nine of them - four of them to J.T. Hopple. He ended it with a toss to Williams in the right corner of the end zone from 13 yards out that Williams took away from Dadeboe.
With 3:33 left and trailing 33-28, Chambersburg had a chance.
But it needed the ball back and Central York saw to it that the Trojans never got it. The Panthers put together three first downs to run the clock out. The key play was a 9-yard pass from Hartz to Zach Emswiler on third-and-five.
Hartz said, "I wasn't surprised they called for a pass there - I trusted them. And as soon as I said, 'Hike,' I saw it was going to work. That felt great being able to run the clock out there at the end."
"I knew we could pass the ball on them, but we just couldn't get the ball back," Williams said.
NOTES: Martin ended up hitting 19 of 29 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns - one to Tolbert of 47 yards and two to Williams (15 and 13) Tay Charles scored on a 38-yard run All four of Snider's punts went 32 yards Chambersburg running back Jamal Pickett did not play because of an ankle injury.
Ed Gotwals can be reached at 262-4755 or email@example.com.
Central York 33
Chambersburg 7 14 0 7 - 28
Central York 7 7 9 10 - 33
Ch - Taylor Tolbert 47 pass from Ryan Martin (Kane Snider kick), 5:28
CY - Sherief Sutton 23 run (Kyle Smith kick), 3:53
CY - Marquis Fells 3 run (Smith kick), 8:24
Ch - Tay Charles 38 run (kick failed), 3:20
Ch - Kellen Williams 15 pass from Martin (Williams pass from Martin), 0:12
CY - Darian Hampton 11 pass from Corey Hartz (Smith kick), 9:27
CY - Safety, punt snap out of end zone, 1:34
CY - Smith 25 field goal, 9:58
CY - Nate Trona 21 pass from Hartz (Smith kick), 6:15
Ch - Williams 13 pass from Martin (Snider kick), 3:33
First downs 14 18
Rushes-yds. 27-79 39-213
Passing yds. 208 182
Total offense 287 395
Passing 19-29-2 9-22-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2
Punts-avg. 4-32.0 3-35.0
Penalties-yds. 6-43 14-111
RUSHING - Chbg, Charles 8-60, Martin 5-14, Jordan Brown 12-11, Colten Brookens 1-0, Team 1-(-6). CY, Sutton 9-71, Fells 11-56, Hampton 3-48, Zach Steffee 4-20, Breaun Randle 1-17, Hartz 10-5, Jonas Tucker-Alleyne 1-(-4).
PASSING - Chbg, Chbg, Martin 19-29-2-208. CY, Hartz 9-21-0-182, Hampton 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING - Chbg, Williams 6-92, Tolbert 3-81, J.T. Hopple 5-29, Brown 3-9, Charles 2-(-3). CY, Sutton 2-82, Trona 2-50, Andrews Dadeboe 1-21, Hampton 1-11, Zach Emswiler 1-9, Fells 1-5, Jay Stone 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS - CY, Dadeboe, Donny Crabill.